NEW YORK, NY.-
Topping Swann Galleries
June 19 auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature was a first American edition of Herman Melvilles Moby-Dick or, The Whalewith white endpapersNew York, 1851, which brought $40,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $18,000 to $25,000, while a scarce fourth edition copy also exceeded expectations, bringing $7,168 in its first time at auction.
The sale featured more than 20 titles by Rex Stout, and all of them found buyers. Record prices were also set for many, including Where Theres a Will, 1940, $9,375; Too Many Cooks, 1938, $7,500; and Over My Dead Body, 1940, $6,500.
Signed and inscribed first editions by Flannery O'Connor, which seldom appear at auction, also set records. These were all signed and inscribed to her former professor and family friend, George Haslam, and included her novel Wise Blood, 1952, $8,750, and her best known collection of short stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1955, $9,375.
From the 19th century were Oscar Wildes The Importance of Being Earnest, first edition, large-paper issue, one of 100 numbered signed copies, London, 1899, $20,480; Mark Twains Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, first American edition in blue cloth, New York, 1885, $10,000; Lewis Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, first editions, London, 1866 and 1872, $7,250; and a scarce first edition of the science-fiction rarity, The History of a Voyage to the Moon, London, 1864, which was previously considered to be by an anonymous or pseudonymous author, but this copy contained an inscription identifying the author as H. Cowen, and sold for a record $8,750.
Also establishing a new auction benchmark was a group of five early first editions by Objectivist poet Charles Reznikoff, New York, 1918-23, $6,750. Additional poetry highlights included a set of three first editions of Emily Dickinsons first three books, Poems, Poems Second Series and Poems Third Series, Boston, 1890-96, $7,500; and an inscribed copy of Robert Frosts North of Boston, first edition, one of 200 copies in binding F, London, 1914, $4,864.
Rounding out the top lots were John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath, first edition, in an unrestored original dust jacket, New York, 1939, $9,375; A.A. Milnes Winnie-the-Pooh, first American edition of the large paper issue, New York, 1936, $7,500; James Joyces Ulysses, one of 2000 copies on handmade paper, London, 1922, $6,500 and Dubliners, first published edition, London, 1914, $5,000.
*All prices include buyers premium.